03 9378 9479 Address: 21 Bell Street, Coburg info@wellnesschiropractors.com.au

Chiropractic Pregnancy Care

Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one. ~ Gloria Steinem

Chiropractic care during pregnancy is vital for both mum and bub as it is a period before birth whereby many potential traumas could affect the healthy in-utero development of the little one. A study conducted by Lisi revealed that 57-69% of pregnant women reported low back pain as a common occurrence during pregnancy.1 No doubt, chiropractic care may offer significant relief to pregnancy related low back pain.

It is preferable for chiropractic care to commence prior to conceiving as most women find that pregnancy pain and discomfort can lead to possible physical, social, psychological and occupational issues.2 You may wonder, ‘What can chiropractic care possibly do for me and my child?’ One of the primary reasons for back pain during pregnancy and difficulties during labour is poor maternal musculoskeletal health.3

Understanding the mum’s wonderful body

The tone and activity of a woman’s pelvic stabilizing musculature (abdominal muscles and pelvic floor) affects the ability to tolerate additional stresses during pregnancy and labour. The pelvic floor can be depicted as a muscular basket suspended from the pelvis and any distortions in its bony support will alter the tensions in this region. Pelvic rotation is common and usually caused by prolonged sitting and incorrect sitting postures.

Sacroiliac instability or laxity is also one of the regular accompanying feature in back pain during pregnancy. It is said to be due to the effects of pregnancy hormones such as relaxin, estradiol, progesterones and cortisol on the integrity of the ligamentous systems.4 The pelvic floor comprised of a group of muscles and soft tissues has to dilate greatly to allow delivery. In circumstances whereby there is presence of pelvic rotation and/or sacroiliac instability, it creates a more difficult passage for delivery of the baby during birthing.5

Figure 1. Pelvic floor muscle anatomy. Image from Bandhayoga.com

 

How can chiropractic care make a difference?

Logically speaking, if the sacrum, pelvis and supporting musculatures are balanced in preparation for pregnancy, the management during pregnancy will most likely be uncomplicated and chances of constraints are reduced.

Prior to or in the first two trimesters of pregnancy, chiropractic care could be directed towards maintaining the balance and stability of the pelvic ring (sacroiliac joints and pubic symphysis) and balancing diaphragmatic and pelvic floor tone.2 Practitioners are able to address issues as such to balance and reduce torsions of the pelvic ring to better facilitate optimal foetal positioning for delivery. Soft tissue techniques are also useful to release restricted and tight psoas muscles (hip flexors), piriformis muscles and tender round ligaments. Participants in a study by Stuber were subjected to modified spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) also known as spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, exercise and patient education. As a result, it was concluded that SMT was a safe and appropriate approach for pregnant women.3,8

Recent study has also shown adjusting pregnant women resulted in relaxation of pelvic muscle floor at rest.9 This could potentially mean that chiropractic care is beneficial to pregnant women as it aids in prepping them for vaginal delivery. With strong pelvic floor muscle control and activation, post-partum healing and recovery would be easier for the mum.

Practitioners utilise belly pillows which are comfortable and suitable for pregnant women to lie on their bellies while receiving chiropractic treatments. Depending on how far along the mum is on her pregnancy journey, practitioners modify and adapt various spinal manipulation techniques such as the activator and blocks that are gentle and low force in removing interference to the nervous system, improving joint range of motion, and allow for optimal health expression throughout pregnancy and labour.

Figure 4. Image from bellypillow.com

Pregnancy in itself is a blessing. All mums experience tremendous amount of physiological and psychological changes with each passing day as the bump grows larger. There is no reason why any mum should feel like pregnancy is unpleasant and that they are merely counting down the days to when the baby arrives. Our chiropractors take into consideration any co-existing medical disorders and aim to help co-manage pregnancy related musculoskeletal complaints alongside other health professionals.

If you feel like you are in need of care from our chiropractors, or should you have any queries, contact us or call to book an appointment:

Coburg Clinic Address: 21 Bell Street, Coburg VIC 3058  (PH: 03 9378 9479)
Ringwood Clinic Address: 31 Wantirna Road, Ringwood VIC 3134 (PH: 03 8802 1519)
Clinics are open Monday – Sunday

References:

  1. Lisi, A. “Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation For Low Back Pain Of Pregnancy: A Retrospective Case Series”. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 51.1 (2006): e7-e10. Web.
  2. Bernard, Maria, and Peter Tuchin. “Chiropractic Management Of Pregnancy-Related Lumbopelvic Pain: A Case Study”. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine2 (2016): 129-133. Web.
  3. Borggren, Cara L. “Pregnancy And Chiropractic: A Narrative Review Of The Literature”. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine2 (2007): 70-74. Web.
  4. Dehghan, F. et al. “The Effect Of Relaxin On The Musculoskeletal System”. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 24.4 (2013): e220-e229. Web.
  5. William, Steve P. Pregnancy & Paediatrics: A Chiropractic Approach. 1st ed. 2005. Print.
  6. Fan, L, X Huang, and Q Wang. “The Characteristics Of Labour Course And Perinatal Prognosis In Cases Of Fetal Persistent Occiput-Transverse Position And Persistent Occiput-Posterior Position”. Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi 32.10 (1997): 620-2. Print.
  7. Fitzpatrick, Myra, Kathryn McQuillan, and Colm OʼHerlihy. “Influence Of Persistent Occiput Posterior Position On Delivery Outcome”.Obstetrics & Gynecology 6 (2001): 1027-1031. Web.
  8. Stuber, Kent. “The Safety Of Chiropractic During Pregnancy: A Pilot E-Mail Survey Of Chiropractors’ Opinions”. Clinical Chiropractic1 (2007): 24-35. Web.
  9. Haavik, H., Murphy, B. and Kruger, J. (2016). Effect of Spinal Manipulation on Pelvic Floor Functional Changes in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 39(5), pp.339-347.